by Christine Baldacchino
Illustrated by: Isabelle Malenfant
Published by: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press
Published: May 2014
genre: children's book (Social Situations, Self-Esteem, Friendships)
formats available: ebook, hardcover
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Morris has a great imagination. He paints amazing pictures and he loves his classroom's dress-up center, especially the tangerine dress. It reminds him of tigers, the sun and his mother's hair.
But the children in Morris’s class don’t understand. Dresses, they say, are for girls. And Morris certainly isn’t welcome in the spaceship some of his classmates are building. Astronauts, they say, don’t wear dresses.
One day when Morris feels all alone, and sick from the taunts of his classmates, his mother lets him stay home from school. Morris reads about elephants, and puts together a puzzle, and dreams of a fantastic space adventure with his cat, Moo.
Inspired by his dream, Morris paints the incredible scene he saw, and brings it with him to school. He builds his own spaceship, hangs his painting on the front of it and takes two of his classmates on an outer space adventure.
With warm, dreamy illustrations Isabelle Malenfant perfectly captures Morris’s vulnerability and the vibrancy of his imagination. This is a sweetly told story about the courage and creativity it takes to be different.
I have no problem with Morris wearing a dress. There is a problem with the kids teasing him and not letting him play on/with the "boy" stuff while wearing the dress. But you know what? I have a problem with Morris HOGGING the dress. First come, first served, is all well and good but Morris doesn't let anyone wear the dress.
So while we're teaching our children that bullying is wrong, let's also teach them that we need to share.
The book ends well, Kirkus Review said, "Baldacchino treats the tricky and controversial subject of expected gender behaviors and bullying with care and compassion, employing language and tone that avoid histrionics or preaching."
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